Volunteers Lead Wildlife Rehab Effort

IMG_0911(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

I’ve posted a number of stories on here about the direct impact humans have on wildlife and how volunteers become involved in dealing with those impacts. When it comes to wildlife rehab centers, it’s often volunteers who do most or all of the work caring for injured animals, whether they’re hit by passing vehicles or fly into the windows of tall glass buildings. In Omaha, Nebraska, Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc. is an example of just how amazing these volunteers are. As this story details, the rehab center has been inundated with an unusually large number of injured animals so far this year. More than 2,000 animals in need of care have come to the center, according to the article, about 600 more than usual. Entirely staffed by volunteers, the organization is doing everything they can to properly house and care for these animals until they are able to be released back into the wild. While some animals may be too injured and must be euthanized, there are many more who are brought back to health by these dedicated and inspiring volunteers.

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Volunteers Caring for Rivers

IMG_2270(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

It seems that certain kinds of activities appear again and again in environmental volunteer stories. One example is the care, protection and preservation of rivers. In this story out of Ontario, a group of local volunteers are working hard to help the Porcupine River. Led by the Friends of the Porcupine River Watershed, these volunteers are planting local trees and shrubs, among other actions, in an effort to improve the river’s ecosystem. A major benefit to these projects is reversing the impact from local mining operations or preventing future degradation of the river from continued environmental impacts.

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Volunteers Clean Big Muddy

IMG_0289(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Yesterday’s story focused on how environmental volunteers are impacting modern public transit systems and their use. Today, a story about how volunteers are impacting a river that has been a route of transportation and a center of life and culture for thousands of years: the Missouri River. Affectionately known as “Big Muddy,” the Missouri begins its journey in western Montana and runs for more than two thousand miles until it meets up with the Mississippi in St. Louis. Along the way, it directly impacts the lives of millions of people and wildlife who live along its banks and depend on it for their lives and livelihoods. And all along those banks, pollution is a serious problem, one which often includes volunteers in the solution. Just one example is this story out of Ohama, about 140 volunteers who came together for an annual river cleanup. The group collected about ten tons of trash, according to the article, and found a wide variety of items, from mud-filled television sets to bottles of deer urine. It’s just one of many efforts happening in many places where people are trying to maintain the health of the majestic and mighty Missouri.

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Volunteers Supporting Public Transportation

Rochester-NY-skyline(Photo by Thomas Wieczorek, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

by Robert Barossi

Environmental volunteers do important work in so many ways, it seems like there are always great new stories about some new way they are making an impact. In the city of Rochester, New York, volunteers are working hard to encourage residents to use public transportation, which can have wide-ranging benefits for the environment. Reconnect Rochester is a volunteer-run organization which is hosting an entire day dedicated to public transportation. On June 18th, the organization is leading the event, known as ROC Transit Day, which encourages residents to go without their cars for the day and use the bus system. Free bus passes have been given out to offer some extra motivation for the public and there will be a number of events happening around the city to celebrate the day and its importance. As one local reporter notes, there are a number of great reasons to participate, including benefits to the individual citizens and the city as a whole.

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Two Tales of Hard Working Volunteers

IMG_2700(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Some days, there are so many great stories out there about the amazing work of environmental volunteers, it’s hard to choose just one to post on here. So, this morning, I’m not going to limit it to just one. These two articles really stood out as great stories of the kind of hard work that environmental volunteers are doing every day, in every corner of the planet.

First, out of Washington, is a story about a group of volunteers who are removing a section of pavement so they can replace it with plants and create urban green space. The Pierce Conservation District is leading the effort to change this small portion of Tacoma and reclaim it for nature. Volunteers are lifting out the sections of broken-up pavement and will soon plant trees and shrubs in it’s place, which will provide a number of benefits for the community.

Second, from Colorado, near Aspen, comes a inspiring story about an environmental organization and the amazing strides it and its volunteers have made in the area. Now in it’s 20th year of land stewardship, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers is an active and successful organization, leading efforts that range from building trails to environmental education in local classrooms.

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Volunteers Count Crabs

ID-100292377Image courtesy of Elwood W. McKay III at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Robert Barossi

Environmental volunteers are invaluable when it comes to gathering important and essential data. In many cases, that data relates to wildlife populations. How many of the species are living in an area? Where are they living? Are they migrating? If so, when and to where? These kinds of questions are answered by dedicated volunteers, who often do the work at all hours of the day and night, in all sorts of weather conditions. In Delaware, volunteers are monitoring populations of horseshoe crabs, a species that is important to the ecosystem and to the human population. According to the story, “The fishing industry uses horseshoe crabs for bait. Migratory birds eat their eggs. And biomedical companies use their blue blood to make a special clotting agent.” These are just a few reasons why volunteers are wading out in to the water every night to count the crabs. They’re also paying special attention to the health of the female population who are spawning. This is especially important data which will help scientists gain an understanding of the health and the future of the horseshoe crab.

You can check out the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for more information.

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Volunteers Spruce Up a River

IMG_2270(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Now that summer is upon us, it’s even easier for volunteers to get out and get involved. And there’s no snow and ice to get in the way of important environmental volunteer work. This is the second story I’ve come across lately about volunteers getting into a river to rehabilitate it’s banks, something that would probably be difficult or impossible in the winter, especially in Alaska. In that state, volunteers are working along the Kenai River, using debris from spruce trees to rebuild the river’s banks, prevent future erosion, and create habitat for fish. The work will have short and long term benefits for the river, it’s ecosystem and the species that make it their home. Those benefits will happen thanks to the work of Kenai Watershed Forum Stream Watch and a number of dedicated environmental volunteers.

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Volunteers Help Salmon with Christmas Trees

IMG_2853(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

At first, it may seem that Christmas trees and salmon don’t really go together. In this case, they do. Volunteers are part of an effort in Oregon to create spawning habitat for salmon by using parts of Christmas trees. As the trees were collected, tree parts and debris were used to slow the water down, creating¬† places where salmon can spawn. A collection of groups and organizations were involved in the effort, including the South Coast chapter of Coastal Conservation Association Oregon and a number of local students.

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High School Volunteers Clean Up Oil Spill

367(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

For this week’s second story, let’s stick with the theme of young environmental volunteers. Yesterday it was teens in Virginia involved in a myriad of important environmental projects. Today, let’s go all the way across the country to the coast of California, where a major oil spill recently hit the Santa Barbara area.

In this great story, three students from Santa Clarita Valley High School took action and got involved in the cleanup efforts. According to the article, they “took their two shovels, big plastic bags, masks, Home Depot buckets and gloves and went to work scooping up 70 gallons of oil off of the beach over the course of two days.” It’s another inspiring story that makes one feel optimistic about the environmental volunteers and leaders of tomorrow.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, check out my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers¬† Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Green Teen Volunteers

IMG_0218(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

Finally back here at the blog after what I now realize has been two weeks. Time definitely got away from me there, maybe it’s been the beautiful weather and all the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Or just the sometimes-crazy busy moments of life.

This great story out of Virginia, about some inspiring teenagers and their amazing environmental work,¬† seemed appropriate for the moment. It’s that time of year, when there’s a graduation every weekend, it seems. Colleges and universities have most likely already ended their academic years. High schools and lower-grade schools will soon follow suit. Many graduating high school seniors will go on to college to study environmentally-related academic fields. Others won’t go to college and will be working in fields that are directly related to the environment. They are all the environmental volunteers of the future.

Check out more information here on Project Green Teens and all of their work.

If you’ve enjoyed any of the stories on this blog, download my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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